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Convenience. It’s something most Americans expect now, whether having dinner or groceries delivered simply by using a smartphone app or even purchasing an automobile online — sight unseen. 

This expectation of convenience — along with flexibility and personalization — has shaped consumer experiences in multiple industries, including retail and banking. Although healthcare was a little late to the game, the industry is increasingly investing in technology to meet consumer preferences. Does healthcare consumerism sound familiar?

When patients’ needs aren’t met, they’re more likely to change providers. If they don’t have easy access to data that informs their healthcare decision-making, they’ll probably look for a provider who helps them overcome that barrier. One that offers digital health resources. 

For many hospitals, health systems, and medical groups, digital health tools that enable patient self-scheduling are the top target for investment. The problem is that only a small percentage of these healthcare providers have such resources in place. 

Why is the capability for patient online scheduling so important? Researchers have identified numerous advantages of automated patient self-scheduling, including:

  • Labor savings
  • Information transparency
  • Cost reduction
  • Cycle time
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Patient engagement
  • Patient accountability
  • Patient information
  • Patient time savings
  • Physician punctuality
  • Patient loyalty
  • Patient attendance

In addition to these benefits, patient self-scheduling has proven to be a vital tool in improving care management and adherence and closing gaps in care. Briefer gaps in care often lead to better health outcomes. 

Perks for Healthcare Providers 

Convenience is a big reason almost 80 percent of patients prefer receiving care from a provider whose practice offers online scheduling. They have 24/7 access to their provider’s schedule and can book appointments — not to mention imaging, vaccines, and screenings — through text messaging or a website or patient portal. 

That flexibility doesn’t only benefit patients, though. When healthcare providers provide the option of automated self-scheduling for their patients, they’re more likely to differentiate themselves from competitors. The result is better patient attrition and retention and higher revenue. 

What else is in it for hospitals, health systems, and medical groups, though? Reduced patient no-shows and delays, decreased administrative burden for staff, and more accurate patient-provider matching. 

Not as Many Patient No-Shows 

Patient no-shows aren’t just annoying for providers. They cost the healthcare industry an estimated $150 billion annually — 150,000 for solo physician practices. However, practices actively working to minimize no-shows can reduce them by up to 70 percent.  

Digital health solutions utilized to remind patients of an upcoming appointment help mitigate no-shows. They also provide patients with instructions for checking in before their visit, adding another layer of engagement to decrease the number of no-shows and cancellations. In fact, studies have found that no-shows are reduced by 29 percent when a patient self-scheduling tool is used. 

Does your medical group have trouble filling last-minute cancellation appointments? By providing real-time access to a provider’s schedule, patient online scheduling tools allow individuals to take advantage of these newly available appointment slots, meaning your practice doesn’t miss out on that revenue. 

Patient and Provider Satisfaction 

Patient self-scheduling also mitigates common barriers to access, including limited hours of operation and long hold times. It takes an average of eight minutes for a patient to schedule an appointment over the phone. That’s compared to only one minute when booking via a digital health tool. Physician practices with longer wait times typically receive lower patient satisfaction scores. 

Used in combination with self-scheduling solutions, digital check-in tools help eliminate patients’ traditional waiting room activities of filling out paper forms and submitting insurance information. Another win for patient satisfaction! 

The satisfaction of your patients can play a big role in the effectiveness and productivity of your practice’s staff — both physicians and non-clinician employees. Digital patient self-scheduling offers a better patient experience and enables better allocation of human resources. 

By reducing the administrative burden on your staff, they have more opportunity to engage with in-office patients face-to-face. They also can focus on other priorities, both clinical and administrative — especially those that drive revenue. 

More Accurate Patient-Provider Matching 

When a patient receives care from a provider who doesn’t have the skillset necessary to meet that individual’s need, time is wasted. And, both patient and provider staff often are negatively affected. Employing digital patient self-scheduling not only enables medical groups to increase scheduling accuracy, it also confirms patients meet specific requirements before booking online, thereby ensuring a more accurate patient-provider match. ProviderMatch® from Kyruus can help your medical group boost patient acquisition, conversion, and retention by offering seamless consumer online scheduling with real-time appointment availability and direct scheduling into underlying EHRs. 

With the combination of Kyruus and Epion, you can offer your patients an online scheduling solution through which they can access a seamless self-service experience from start to finish. Schedule a meeting with us to learn more